University Degree with Distinction Honors

How do I earn a degree with distinction honor?

Latin honors distinction for any (i.e. first or subsequent) undergraduate degree is based on the cumulative grade point average calculated solely from all credit hours attempted at East Carolina University. For students returning to ECU under forgiveness policy, only hours included in the GPA following the application of forgiveness will be considered for a degree with distinction. Three levels of distinction are granted to graduating undergraduates as follows:

  1. Summa Cum Laude for a cumulative average of 3.90 and above
  2. Magna Cum Laude for a cumulative average of equal to or greater than 3.60 and less than 3.90
  3. Cum Laude for a cumulative average of equal to or greater than 3.50 and less than 3.60

Note: International credit earned from institutions located outside of the United States is not included in the calculation of cumulative average for awarding degrees with distinction.


How and when are distinctions calculated?

Distinctions are calculated in the student’s graduation term as indicated by the student on the graduation application. The estimated distinction assumes that a student will achieve all A’s during the graduation term. This estimated distinction will be reflected in the University commencement booklet.

Distinctions are re-calculated after final grades for the term have been posted. If all A’s are not earned during the final term, the distinction will be adjusted accordingly if necessary. Final distinctions are acknowledged on diplomas and official transcripts.

GPA’s are not rounded when calculating degree with distinction honors.


How do I get my honors cords?

If a student has been determined to potentially earn degree with distinction honors, he/she will receive an email from the Registrar’s Office. The student should take the email to Dowdy Student Stores to purchase the honors cords. Cords cannot be purchased prior to the Grad Expo held each semester at Dowdy Student Stores.

Click here for more information about Grad Expo


How do I purchase honors cords if I am a distance education student?

Email Dowdy Student Stores at to place your order for cap, gown and honors cord. When emailing Dowdy Student Stores please provide name, height and weight (for sizing purposes), and shipping address. Also, attach the email you received from the Registrar’s Office stating your eligibility for degree with distinction honors.  There will be a shipping and handling charge if the cap, gown, and honors cord are requested in this manner. Student Stores processes all honor cord purchase requests. Please contact them at (252) 328-6731 with any questions.


Can I qualify for degree with distinction honors as a graduate student?

Degree with Distinction Honors are only awarded for undergraduate students. Graduate students are not eligible for a distinction.


I am a summer graduation applicant. When will my honors be calculated?

Applicants for summer graduation will be reviewed for degree with distinction honors during the summer term and the honor earned will be reflected in the upcoming fall University commencement booklet. Summer graduation applicants will not have a degree with distinction honor calculated for the spring term prior to their graduation, even if the student chooses to participate in the spring commencement ceremony.


Who should I contact if I have questions about degree with distinction honors?

Email Shelley Tripp. Please be sure to include your Banner student ID in the email with your questions.